Newsletter May/June 2004

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We’ve been busy ticking off completed music projects over the past couple of months, so site words are coming more slowly. For the sake of the Stereo Society honor, we keep writing, though. Demonstrates persistence, at least.

The Ives Universe Symphony project is now in its mastering stage. Enough jokes already about ‘finishing the universe’. Yes, it has taken longer than six days. But we did rest the day after, something to do with champagne. He must have got a little tired of the jokes at His expense, since the day we fully completed the mixing there was a violent thunderstorm in downtown New York.

With The Contessa’s Party also finished and in mastering Thorne’s Soft Cell literary saga can continue. This month, he extends his group record production memoirs with a lengthy piece on what is arguably their best single ever, and one which was never released on an album until the recent compilation of 12” singles. Torch was a turning point in many ways, including the deterioration of a remarkably productive creative relationship. Recorded under extreme pressure, it draws together many threads from their fertile, two-year New York period.

This story complements two previous Soft Cell essays. Non Stop Erotic Cabaret was the group’s first album, incorporating their enormous first hit Tainted Love, and breaking new ground in the exciting, creative period that was the early eighties. The album pushed out the boundaries of pop synthesizer music of the time, even incorporating a clarinet with the simple, early rhythm machine sounds. Such connections seem routine now, but at the time it was very radical. Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing was a club-oriented collection of new versions of previous Soft Cell tracks as well as a new UK single. In 1982 it was one of the very first dance track collections to be released.

The runaway success story of Tainted Love has also recently been updated and expanded here. Several further Soft Cell and Marc Almond essays will follow. Thorne’s collection of essays now spans 35 individual projects from 1974 to 2003. All of these articles try to develop an interesting theme, a more interesting approach than ‘then we pressed the record button, then the star sang the hit’. And some of the most revealing stories are about recording sessions which the world never noticed. That’s a consolation, of sorts.

Torch had one of Soft Cell's best-ever single covers, near the climax of an immaculate series by Huw Feather. You won’t see it around anywhere. So we offer a high resolution scan for download, 200 dots-per-inch and 12” square, about 1.5Mb. We post it as a .zip file so that it won’t open prematurely in your browser. Use any image software to view and print. Print it and stick it on the wall. Backtracking, we also post a scan of the What! 12” single cover, with the same dimensions. They don’t make them like they used to…..

The next projects to finalize will be Lene Lovich’s new CD, Shadows And Dust, at the end of May (which needs no introduction), and Great Steam Radio Hits From The Contessa’s Party, a collection of short versions of the eight club-type extended pieces of The Contessa’s Party.

BETTY have now opened their musical (beyond the musical) BETTY Rules for a six-week run in Chicago at the Lakeshore Theatre, May 6 through June 20, 2004. Additionally, they have released their Original Cast Recording on their own label, which you can purchase at their site or through Amazon. There are glimmerings of further recordings in conjunction with the Stereo Society, but no details as yet.

Genya Ravan played her first gig in 17 years (excepting guest appearances such at the Janis Joplin tribute at the Summer Stage in New York last summer) this last April 27 to a full, enthusiastic house. She will perform at the Cutting Room in New York, 19 West 24th street between 6th Avenue and Broadway, the last Tuesday in every month during the summer.

The Shirts are continuing to build their renaissance, and continue to record tracks at CBGB’s in New York and overdub and the Stereo Society during the coming months to form the basis of their forthcoming CD. Their next gig is also at CBGB’s in New York, Saturday night, June 19th at 10pm.

In order to speed the recording plow, we may not be doing further site updates until the end of June. However, we’ll still send out our short newsletter with details of upcoming gigs and other events. You can sign up to receive the monthly notes on our Contact page, where you can also send us opinions/diatribes or contact our family of artists directly.

And keeping sending your ideas and more via the Contact page. We enjoy them, appreciate them, and they help us direct the site. And we do reply…….